House of Lords and Reform reports flag up potential of distributed ledger technology for government

Written by Sam Trendall on 4 December 2017 in News

The reports from think tank Reform and Lord Holmes recommend increased use of distributed ledger technology

Blockchain in use - Image credit: BTC Keychain via Flickr

Two reports have flagged up the potential of blockchain distributed ledger technology to help government deliver better and more secure public services.

A report from think tank Reform found that the use of blockchain could make the digital identity programmes run by the government safer.

The use of blockchain would allow governments to implement an entirely “self-sovereign” approach to digital identity, where an individual user could own and control their identity for use across any number of different entities.

This would be much more secure than individual departments using separate, centralised models of identity management, the report claimed.

It said: “Government should use blockchain technology to make identity management more secure and efficient.

“This means moving from siloed departments holding different – and even contradictory – versions of a person’s identity, to a user-stored identity, in an identity app on a smartphone.”

Reform added that siloed identities held by different departments are “insecure, inefficient and inconvenient for citizens” and that centralised data storage is more attractive to hackers.

A separate report from the House of Lords, published by Conservative peer Lord Christopher Holmes, flags up the transformational impact distributed ledger technology could have on public services in areas such as policing, border control, taxation, healthcare and government procurement.

Among the report’s recommendations are the creation of cross-department initiatives to better use DLT in delivering public services, and increasing awareness of the technology among senior and middle managers in Whitehall.

It also recommends undertaking pilot programmes, and the formation of a “neutral organisation” to provide policy advice and technical expertise.

“With the right mix of leadership, collaboration and sound governance, DLT offers a step change for service delivery in both the public and private sectors,” Holmes said.

“By reducing data fragmentation and enhancing traceability and accountability, DLT promises cost‐savings and efficiencies on a scale sufficient to impact national finances.” 

The Whitechapel think tank was another policy organisation to call for improved use of DLT in the public sector.

Chair Jeremy Wilson said: “Much of the focus on this technology to date has been around its application for banking, finance and crypto-currencies. 

“What this report shows is that the potential reach is far broader, fundamentally underpinning connectivity across government departments and beyond.”



Related Articles

National Cyber Security Centre warns UK Government and power companies of Russian threat
19 March 2018

Owners of critical infrastructure and providers of services are being urged to be prepared for Russian cyber attacks

Associate feature: How graduate apprenticeships can fill the tech skills gap
26 February 2018

Sally Smith is Dean of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University on preparing the workforce for the future

Westminster Treasury Committee to examine regulation of digital currency
23 February 2018

The inquiry will look at the risks to consumers, businesses and the economy of currencies such as Bitcoin

Department of Work and Pensions digital project to manage debts of up to 15 million citizens
19 February 2018

The DWP plans ‘modernisation’ of its work to collect more than £1bn owed to the UK Government each year

Related Sponsored Articles

Associate feature: 5 ways IoT is transforming the public sector
5 February 2018

Vodafone explores some of the ways IoT is significantly improving public sector service delivery

Associate feature: Who keeps your organisation secure?
19 February 2018

BT's Amy Lemberger argues that having the right security in place to protect your organisation is no longer just an option. It is a necessity.

Share this page